Read the full article by Michael Gerstein (Santa Fe New Mexican)
“The New Mexico Environment Department on Thursday fined the U.S. Air Force nearly $1.7 million for failing to monitor potentially cancer-causing pollution discharged at a base near Clovis and allowing a wastewater permit to lapse.
The state agency has asked the Air Force for the money within 30 days and says the military branch could still be emitting carcinogenic chemicals known as PFAS even after the state filed a lawsuit over the issue in March. The suit, brought by the state Attorney General’s Office and Environment Department, came after groundwater samples indicated chemical levels were hundreds of times higher than a federal health advisory limit.
For years, the Air Force routinely used a potent type of firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals at bases across the country. The state Environment Department now says the military is continuing to discharge wastewater likely to contain the chemicals. Under state law, the Air Force is supposed to monitor its wastewater for such substances but has failed to do so, according to a compliance order the department filed Thursday…
Pollution from Cannon Air Force, about seven miles west of Clovis, has leached into nearby groundwater and severely contaminated at least one dairy farm. There also is an unknown amount of PFAS contamination from Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo.
The Environment Department is asking state lawmakers for $1.2 million this year to study the toxic plume near Clovis. State regulators still do not know the extent of the pollution or how quickly it is spreading….”